My magical friend Dan introduced me to a very interesting concept: that our faces contain both a conscious projection, and an unconscious one.
According to this theory, the right side of my face is controlled by the active decision of my brain, and therefore on that side you are seeing what I want you to see. But the left side of the face isn't consciously controlled: it therefore displays the deeper, truer me. And sometimes the contrast, between what we portray and what we actually are, can be pretty striking.
When this was being explained to me, it was illustrated with this famous portrait:
Straightforward picture of a bad man, right? But when you split it up into right and left [click on the images for bigger versions] an interesting perspective develops:
Right: Authoritative, steely, determined, tough.
These are Adolf Hitler's consciously-displayed characteristics.
But on the unconscious side, there is softness, possibly even sadness.
The eye almost looks fearful, and the general impression is of insecurity. The inner-man underlying the monster, perhaps.
Fascinating, isn't it? Well I think so. So I've tried it out on some more people:
BRYN PALMER [BBC Sport]
Try it for yourself – it's great for psychoanalysing famous people (and no one can prove you wrong!). Sometimes really interesting contrasts present themselves, sometimes not.
But the thing that I notice is that the right-side (the consciously-projected side) is the one that is, in nearly all cases, most recognisable – most like we expect. It's as if, because we read from left to right, we naturally look at that side first, giving it precedence, and missing the 'hidden' side. I wonder if Arabic/Hebrew readers do the same?
Anyway, one more to finish: me. This was taken when out for dinner with my American family, at a Jordanian restaurant that we like.